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Also via video chat: How doctors want to treat patients online soon


Remote treatment: Physicians should soon be able to treat patients exclusively online

Years ago, many experts agreed that telemedicine will be an important part of healthcare in the future. Finally, online consultations with the doctor can help accelerate diagnoses, among other things. Now it has become known that doctors will soon be allowed to treat patients exclusively online.

Action against the shortage of doctors in rural areas

The field of telemedicine is still in its infancy in Germany, but according to experts it will be an important part of health care in the future. Especially in rural regions, telemedicine is becoming increasingly important as a measure against the shortage of doctors. According to media reports, the German healthcare system is apparently facing a major change: in the future, patients should probably only be treated via electronic communication media such as Skype.

There are already online consultation hours

Online consultation hours were introduced in Germany years ago.

According to experts, such treatments offer numerous advantages. Not only do they save the long journey to the doctor - especially in rural regions - they are apparently just as good in some areas as a comparable presence therapy.

For example, a study commissioned by Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) showed that online therapy helps stutterers as well as therapy in the consulting room.

Remote treatment via video chat

Until now, remote treatment via video chat or telephone has only been possible if there has been physical contact between the doctor and the patient at least once.

But in the future, doctors will probably only treat online using communication media such as Skype, reports the Reuters news agency.

Accordingly, a spokesman for the German Medical Association (BÄK) confirmed that a corresponding change in the model code of conduct is planned.

Certain requirements have to be met

According to a report by "Spiegel Online", the professional code for doctors should then read: "Exclusive advice or treatment via electronic communication media is permitted if this is medically justifiable in individual cases."

A prerequisite for the exclusively virtual consultation hour is that the patient is informed about the "special features" of a purely online consultation and the doctor carefully documents all findings and treatments.

For years, the majority of the medical profession had vehemently opposed the easing of the ban on remote treatment and at least requested personal first contact between doctors and patients, writes "Spiegel Online".

In May, however, the delegates of the Medical Day should now be recommended to vote on the proposed resolution. (ad)

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